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  • Hey folks, welcome back to the channel and  welcome back to high speed rail explained!

  • While many people think about Italy as the home  of the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini for their  

  • fast cars, far too few people think about  Italy for it's fast (and beautiful) trains.  

  • Italy has an interesting history with regard  to high speed rail and keeps innovating to  

  • this day with a network just as undersold  as you might expect, let's get into it.

  • If you're not already, consider supporting  the channel on Patreon to help me bring you  

  • more content like this video, get direct access to  exclusive transit chats, and for behind the scenes  

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  • I want to start this video by reiterating how  underappreciated not just the high speed rail,  

  • but the various tram networks, metros, and  beautiful urban landscapes of the country are.  

  • For all the problems and struggles the  country has faced it's incredible how  

  • good a lot of the transit being built  is, and not for premium prices! A lot  

  • of what I've learned about the country has  been the result of incredibly good tweet  

  • threads from Dr. Marco Chitti, sorecommend you give him a follow on Twitter!

  • Italy's first foray into what we now know  as high speed rail was with the ETR 200.  

  • A train first introduced in the late 1930's. The  ETR 200 was innovative for it's time with a top  

  • speed just over 200 kph, while not particularly  attractive by modern standards it was quite  

  • aerodynamic for the time, and featured  other unique features like jacobs bogies.

  • In fact two of the world's oldest high speed lines  existed in the early 1900s serving passengers  

  • between Florence and Bologna, and Naples and  Rome with trains with the ability to travel as  

  • fast as 200 kph, the Florence to Bologna route  in particular had at the time a base tunnel  

  • which at the time was the second longest in  the world at nearly 19 kilometres in length.

  • Roughly 40 years later, Italy took the next  big step opening the Direttissima in 1977.  

  • This was a dedicated high speed line travelling  between Rome and Florence, the line has a top  

  • speed of 250 kph, and has a very unique future  for high speed rail - DC electrification at 3000  

  • volts. This is something which is quite  common throughout Italy's rail network.

  • In 2005, the first section of line between Rome  & Naples opened with a top speed of 300 km/h.  

  • This line would be almost  as long as the direttissima,  

  • though, unlike the direttissima this  line was electrified at 25kv AC.

  • Next up came the Turin-Milan line, with the  first Turin-Novara section opening in 2006.  

  • as with the line between Rome and Naples,  

  • the line has a maximum running speed  of 300 km/h and 25kv electrification.

  • In 2007, the Padova to Venice and Milan  to Treviglio sections of the Milan-Venice  

  • High Speed line opened. Both of these  lines are electrified at 3000 v DC,  

  • however the line can be used  for full 300 kph speeds and  

  • 25 kv AC electrical power when it is no longer  needed for use by 3000 v DC Regional Trains.

  • The next year the Naples to Salerno line openedextending services south of Naples, this extension  

  • is under 100 kilometers long and has a maximum  speed of 250kph for much of it's length, slowing  

  • down to 180 kph on the approach to Salernothis line is also electrified at 3000 v DC.

  • Later in the same year came the Milan to  Bologna line, with a full 300 km/h top speed,  

  • linking the two northern  cities in less than an hour;  

  • the line is electrified with 25  kv alternating current power.

  • In 2009, The Bologna to Florence 300 km/h opened,  

  • with 25kv AC electrification. This  line is almost entirely in tunnels!

  • A few days later in 2009, the lines between  Rome and Naples and between Novara and Milan  

  • were put into service, both with 300kph  max speeds and 25kv AC electrification.

  • In 2013 a new 10km long center city high  speed rail tunnel was opened in Bologna,  

  • allowing faster travel through the city center.

  • And finally, the Treviglio to Brescia section  of the Milan Venice line opened in 2016,  

  • which has a top speed of 300 km/h, and you  guessed it, it's electrified at 25kv AC!

  • There are quite a few lines being constructed as  well as being planned, which will finally connect  

  • the islanded pieces of the network together. Construction started for the Milan to Genoa  

  • line in 2011, although parts of it were  temporarily halted due to funding problems;  

  • construction has since restarted, and is  scheduled to finish in 2023. The line is  

  • incredibly important for freight, connecting  the Port in Genoa to locales to the North.

  • The remaining portion of the Milan to Venice  high speed line between Brescia and Padova  

  • is currently under construction  for a completion date in 2026,  

  • with high speed trains using the low speed  line between the cities in the meantime.

  • Construction on the Naples-Bari line  began in 2015, shortening travel times  

  • between Rome and Bari by around 25%,  works are scheduled to finish by 2022.

  • Next up is a planned route  between Milan and Chiasso,  

  • linking up the high speed rail networks  of Italy, Switzerland, and Germany,  

  • and the route will include the already  completed Gotthard and Lotschberg Base Tunnels.

  • You're probably wondering  about what a base tunnel is,  

  • even if you've heard some of these names before,  

  • base tunnels cut through the base's of mountainsand tend to be incredibly long and deep.

  • The Gotthard Base tunnel is the longest  and deepest in the world at over 50km  

  • long and with maximum depths of over 2 kilometers,  

  • yes, kilometers. To say the project was complex  would be an understatement, but I'll talk more  

  • about it in my Swiss Railway's Explained  video, so make sure to subscribe for that!

  • The next project is the Brenner Base Tunnel, yet  another project that will connect Italy's system  

  • to other countries via Verona, with links to  Innsbruck in Austria, and Munich in Germany.

  • This will be one of the most important links  in the larger network named the Trans-European  

  • Transport Network, an interconnected  transport and infrastructure network  

  • spanning the whole European Union. The  tunnel is already substantially excavated,  

  • and is scheduled to open for freight and passenger  service by 2028. Freight service is quite common  

  • across many of these new transcontinental  links and I'll address it a bit later.

  • To be clear, the past two projects are  more of a case of services being run,  

  • as infrastructure is mostly in place or  in construction progress as we speak!

  • The first of a few planned new  lines is the line connecting Lyon,  

  • Turin, and Chambery, which will link the  Italian and French high speed rail networks.

  • The plan has received quite a lot of pushback  with a total cost over 26 billion euros,  

  • especially with the Mont d'Ambin Base  Tunnel, the largest project on the route  

  • costing as much as 18.3 billion euros, but the  government has decided to go ahead with it,  

  • with a tentative completion  date in the late 2020's.

  • There's also a potential line between Trieste  and Ljubljana - the capital of Slovenia,  

  • which will link the Italy network  to the Slovenian Pendolino network,  

  • allowing for more rail development in Eastern  Europe, and more trans-European links.

  • As it turns out, like some other countries  Italy has more than one high speed rail  

  • operator, with both Trenitalia and NTV  operating high speed rail services,  

  • the two different operators  operate separate rolling stock,  

  • although most are under the ElettroTreno  family, which broadly means EMU in Italian.

  • First for the trains used by Trenitalia.  

  • Trenitalia refers to their trains as  “Le Frecceorthe arrowin Italian,  

  • and these are roughly equivalent to TGV in  France or AVE in Spain. As it turns out,  

  • these trains were previously brandedEurostar  Italia” - no relation to another Eurostar.

  • Under the Le Frecce brand  

  • there are three different classes  of service based on maximum speed.

  • Frecciarossa, or Red Arrow trains  operate with a top speed of 300 km/h,  

  • and are the most premium  service operated by Trenitalia,  

  • serving mostly dedicated high speed routesMuch like in other European countries,  

  • these services sometimes operate on conventional  lines to reach various destinations.

  • The ETR 500 is the older model used  on Frecciarossa services, they were  

  • introduced in 1993, and were manufactured by  AnsaldoBreda who have since become Hitachi  

  • Rail Italy. These trains come in variants with  support for up to three electrical standards,  

  • with 1500V DC capabilities on some trainswith original models only supporting 3Kv DC  

  • electrification. The trains have a maximum  speed of 300kph and do not feature tilting.

  • It's worth noting that these trains  were ordered in multiple generations,  

  • with Bombardier and Alstom assisting  AnsaldoBreda in the later order.  

  • It's also worth noting that the  ETR 500 is a loco hauled train.

  • The new Frecciarossa model succeeding  the ETR 500 is the ETR 1000,  

  • this is truly the Ferrari of trainsThe ETR 1000 began operations in 2015,  

  • and was jointly developed and manufactured  by AnsaldoBreda and Bombardier.  

  • The top speed in service is still 300 kph  however, trains have operated at nearly 400 kph,  

  • which is the design speed of the train, the  highest in the world for regular service.

  • As with the ETR 500 the ETR 1000 is capable of  operating under a number of electrical standards  

  • allowing it to operate across Europe, unlike  the ETR 500, the 1000 is a multiple unit train.  

  • This train has a special place in my heart as  the only train from Bombardier's Zefiro line of  

  • high speed trains operating outside of Chinaand the fastest train developed by Bombardier.

  • The next step down is the Frecciagento, or  Silver arrow. These trains operate with a  

  • top speed of 250 km/h. Most trains in this series  are part of the Pendolino tilting train family,  

  • and many of the services run with  these trains are not fully high speed,  

  • with the trains running on conventional tracks  for some substantial part of their journey.

  • These services are operated with the  third generation Pendolino, or the ETR 485  

  • a dual power tilting electrical multiple  unit manufactured by Fiat's Rail Division,

  • Or the New Pendolino, the ETR 600 and ETR 610  a multi power tilting electrical multiple unit  

  • manufactured by Alstom in Italy, as well  as the ETR 700, a multi power non-tilting  

  • electrical multiple manufactured by AnsaldoBreda  serving the route between Milan and Lecce.

  • Next up are the trains operated by NTV.

  • The AGV 575 is the multi power electrical multiple  unit train used for NTV's premier Italo service,  

  • and these trains built by Alstom are not  used by any other system in the world.

  • The Italo service launched in 2012, and has  a top speed of operating speed of 300 km/h,  

  • though trains have a design speed of 360  kph. The AGV is also notable because it  

  • is a multiple unit unlike virtually  all other French high speed trains.

  • The ETR 675 is the other train used by NTV  on Italo services, also a multiple unit  

  • manufactured by Alstom the trains have a top  speed of 250 kph and are multi power capable,  

  • though they don't look as cool as  the AGV sets in my humble opinion.

  • Italy is well known for developing the original  pendolino train, wherependolinois Italian  

  • forpendulum”, which makes it clear the  mechanism which is used to create the tilt.  

  • Tilting trains were developed from a desire to  implement higher speed services on conventional  

  • rail lines reducing the cost of implementing high  speed services. Although a common misconception,  

  • tilting is primarily for passenger  comfort, not for physics related reasons.

  • Quite uniquely for a high speed rail system, Italy  utilizes 3000 V DC on some lines, though if you've  

  • been paying attention you may have noticed  that lines electrified at 3000 V have a top  

  • speed of just 250 kph, this is because the lines  provide insufficient power for higher speeds.

  • One of the most interesting aspects of  Italy's high speed rail system is that,  

  • in addition to the state-owned train operator  Trenitalia, the system is also operated on  

  • by Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori or NTV, a first  in the world private open-access operator of  

  • high speed rail. NTV is proving quite successful  with a respectable share of the overall ridership  

  • as well, with 9 million riders in 2015 compared to  Trenitalia's high speed rail total of 40 million,  

  • for a total of 49 million passengers and  growing. This is an incredibly impressive  

  • number given ridership was less than  10 million per annum 10 years ago.

  • One very unique service operated in Italy is the  recently introduced Mercitalia high speed freight,  

  • a service provided using modified  ETR 500 high speed passenger trains.  

  • Such service is meant to incentivize freight  movement by rail, a major EU development goal,  

  • as Western Europe lags behind North America  in terms of tonnage freight movement by rail.

  • One place Italy has been surprisingly  successful is in the export of high speed  

  • train technology to other countriesas you might have guessed this is all  

  • on the back of the pendolino, a set of  trains adopted by numerous countries.

  • The New Pendolino has been  exported for use in Switzerland,  

  • Poland, Spain, Finland and Russia  and China via technology transfer.

  • The ETR 460 has been exported to  Finland, Slovenia and Portugal.

  • Pendolino technology developed in Italy is also  used on the British Rail Class 390 from Alstom,  

  • who acquired the tilting  technology behind the Pendolino.

  • In fact, even the newest Amtrak Avelia  Liberty trains are using pendolino  

  • technology to hopefully improve speeds  along the winding Northeast Corridor.

  • That being said not everything which was  exported was good, the AnsaldoBreda V250,  

  • a high speed train developed for use in the  Netherlands and Belgium was quite possibly  

  • the train that broke AnsaldoBredaThe trains were delivered years late  

  • and faced so many technical problems  that they were fully retired after  

  • just one month of service - they were also very  ugly. As it turns out, Trenitalia subsequently  

  • purchased all the trains, and turned them  into the ETR 700 sets mentioned earlier!

  • Like in many fields it's clear Italy has  had a substantial and lasting impact on  

  • the development of high speed rail via its  development of tilting train technology,

  • as well as other contributions.

  • The country is linked by an underappreciated high  quality network of high speed train services which  

  • is among the most liberalized in the world, and  which features some of the most impressive rolling  

  • stock in Europe, and things are set to change  massively with an expanded domestic network,  

  • and new connections to countries to the  East North and West, Italy has yet to  

  • see just how far high speed rail will take it. I hope you enjoyed this episode of high speed  

  • rail explained, but before you go. I'm letting  the audience decide the next episode I make!  

  • I've set up a poll in the YouTube community  tab for the next system to be featured in  

  • high speed rail explained, who will it  be? Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, or Russia?

Hey folks, welcome back to the channel and  welcome back to high speed rail explained!

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Italy's High Speed Rail System Explained

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    Alan posted on 2021/07/11
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